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This document was mailed to all CSD Member States before the CSD Intersessional meeting in February / March 2000.

 

WOMEN'S CAUCUS:

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

ON ISSUES UNDER CONSIDERATION AT CSD-8

Compiled by Pamela Ransom (WEDO) and Minu Hemmati (UNED-UK)

The following recommendations are based on position papers which have been prepared for the CSD NGO Women's Caucus by:

Majda Bne Saad (University College Dublin), Helene Gregoire (Cornell University), Minu Hemmati (UNED-UK), Huairou Commission, Ashley Lebner (Cambridge University), Diana Lee-Smith (UNCHS), Linda Mayoux (Open University), Rudo S.P. Mungwashu (UNA Zimbabwe), Sharyle Patton (IPEN), Pamela Ransom (WEDO), Catalina Trujillo (UNCHS), Vanya Walker Leigh (Agricultural Economist / Journalist), Women's Caucus at WTO (Seattle, 1999), Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF, Netherlands).

We thank all authors of draft position papers and all discussants for their contributions to the preparations for CSD-8. Thanks also to Jenny Jones (UNED-UK) for her help with the summary.

The full papers which include the background and research on which the following recommendations are based are available on the CSD NGO Women's Caucus web-site (go to the CSD NGO Steering Committee web-site at http://www.csdngo.org/csdngo and click on "Women").

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1. Sustainable Agriculture, Food Security, Pesticides, POPs and Women's Health

1.1 Food Security

Women farmers play a major role in food production and ensuring food security in rural areas, particularly in Developing Countries and particularly in Africa. For example, as African Ministers have acknowledged on many occasions, female farmers dominate food production in most African countries: 78 % of the food produced in Africa is produced by women who work on plots and farms to which they hold no title deeds. Yet, estimates say that women receive 2-18 % of the region's total technical assistance and training. Governments, Intergovernmental Bodies and NGOs should set up funds for the training of women on sustainable agriculture.
Ensure that Southern and small farmers, particularly women, are not undermined by competitive pressures resulting from the rapid removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers and subsidized agricultural products from Northern countries. Successful measures include incentive programmes and government procurement of produce by women, where appropriate.
Ensure food security based on self-sufficient, small-scale, diverse agriculture instead of corporate export-oriented, agro-industrial mono-cultures. Demand for more export-oriented produce is causing people to use arable land unsustainably. The revitalization of local self-governing bodies, public distribution systems and price control are mechanisms to be considered to achieve food security and sustainable agriculture.
Land rehabilitation programmes should be intensified through land reclamation programmes, regreening and water harvesting to ensure sufficient water for human consumption, livestock as well as irrigation.
Adopt the Convention on Biological Diversity. Ban the patenting of living organisms and protect the knowledge, practices and livelihoods of indigenous peoples through legislation and strict punishment in the country where the crime was committed.

Commitment to promoting health and nutritional well-being of all the people.

Development strategies should aim at reducing poverty, emphasise social justice, and achieve better nutrition for all and in particular protecting vulnerable groups with attention to the continued feminization of poverty. Appropriate existing strategies need to be sufficiently supported to ensure their quick implementation.
Countries should make a firm social, economic and political commitment to achieve the objective of promoting the nutritional well-being of their people as an integral part of their development policies, plans and programmes in the short and long run. Countries should carry out campaigns on nutrition through local foods and local eating habits. Providing measures to ensure sufficient child care is an important component in rural areas to remove malnutrition.
Priority must be given to the most food insecure groups - children, tribals, women in low income households and urban poor.
Ministries such as agriculture, health, education and other relevant sectors should consider where possible, incorporating nutrition objectives in their plans, programmes and projects with attention to plans that are sensitive to the specific nutritional needs of women and girls. Equally necessary is the co-ordination with NGOs and the private sector.
Ensure access to adequate and safe food supplies, safe drinking water, health care, a hygienic environment and education and related services which must be achieved using sustainable measures which are environmentally sound.
Provide farmers with incentives to adopt sustainable and efficient practices in managing natural resources such as land and forest ownership, technical knowledge and through markets promotion.
People's participation at the local level, particularly women's, is a prerequisite for improving food production and sustaining access to food, and for adequate nutrition improvement programmes and projects. The importance of the informal sector in the processing of and distribution of food should be recognised.

Women lack access to and/or control of the means of production such as land and finance to purchase inputs such as fertilizers and seeds, therefore:

Traditional Credit Systems of rural women need to be recognized and accepted as one component of the financial system of fund distribution (savings and credit).
An International Endowment Fund for women farmers for match-fund from NGOs with track records should be established under UNDP to provide necessary resources.
Governments should approve the establishment of rural women banks owned by the rural women farmers with their tradition of wealth creation methodology.
Efforts of the urban poor to grow food in urban areas need to be supported by recognizing urban farming through planning for the land and providing extension services where appropriate.

Focus on women's nutritional well-being

Equality between men and women is a prerequisite of nutritional well-being of all. Promoting gender equity should include the full implementation of the 1979 Convention on Elimination of All Form of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), including detrimental traditional practices.
Relieve the workload of women through the provision of clean water, introduction of appropriate, relevant and affordable technology such as high capacity stoves to save energy for cooking etc, and transports facilities e.g. modified bicycles.
Research centres and extension should promote the use of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) at smaller scale and exploring ways of finding alternatives to herbicides to reduce the time spent by women on weeding in cases where farm households cannot afford to buy herbicides.
Educate all members of households on the importance of shared responsibilities both in performing agricultural tasks and housework.
Women and girls should be afforded equitable access to family resources, incl. land and capital, and to educational and training opportunities.
Legal measures should guarantee women's equal access to productive resources such as land, eg through joint or co-ownership; this will enable women to access credit, irrigation, inputs and markets, agricultural extension and research.
Access to land and capital and legal measures to guarantee access and ownership for women is not sufficient to enhance women farmers' role should be enhanced. We call for specific resource allocation. As women have before from Rio to Beijing, we are calling for 2 - 5 % of annual budgets to be allocated to poor women farmers in the rural areas.
Women and men should have equal access to reproductive health care, child care and family planning programmes to enable them to plan the spacing of their children and to achieve fertility rates which are in consonance with their resource endowment and are sustainable.

Co-operation between developing countries to promote food security and nutritional well-being for the food insecure

Governments and International Aid Organisations should strive for and attain gender equity within their own organisations, as well as within their programmes/projects, to act as models of gender-fair organisations by placing qualified women in leadership positions and offering equal opportunities to female professionals.
Strengthen co-operation among Developing Countries and within regions in tackling common problems, in learning from each other's experiences and, where possible, in channelling regional resources to solve regional problems within the framework that already exist between developing countries.
Encourage triangular food aid.

Co-operation with multilateral and bilateral aid donors and international organisations

Provide adequate financial, technical and in kind resources for implementing programmes and projects.
Many Developing Countries lack the financial capacity to meet this challenge, thus the International Community, particularly bilateral agencies, multilateral financing institutions and international organisations, should support country efforts in this direction.
Free and fair trade, re-negotiation or alleviation of debt, and increased official assistance, bearing in mind the accepted United Nations target of 0.7% of GNP of developed countries (of which 0.15% should be for Least Developed Countries), are components of such support. Economic assistance measures need to be designed in such a way that they do not undermine the long-term financial and economic stability of a recipient country.
Developing Countries should be supported to adopt policies on disaster management to ensure preparedness of drought and other calamities.
Create the right balance between macro-economic policy objectives and food security needs, minimise possible adverse impact of structural adjustment programmes on food security of the poor, and where some negative effects are unavoidable, introduce transitory measures to alleviate the hardships.
Governments and international organisations should promote programmes which will increase food production and agricultural trade so that the poor countries and poor people have better access to food. In many cases, export-oriented agriculture jeopardizes the development and implementation of such programmes.
International lending practices should be re-examined and long-term action must be planned to maintain food supplies, to provide employment opportunities through diversification of economic activities at levels necessary to meet the needs of all people and in particular the food insecure.
Issue a Code of Conduct to govern the activities of those involved in achieving the right to food, including national and international institutions such as the WTO as well as private actors such as transnational corporations.
Monitor Codes of Conduct at international and national levels. Civil society, NGOs and trade unions can combine their work with the authority and experience of the ILO. Other UN organisations such as UNCTAD, FAO, UNIDO, WHO can assist also using their area of specialisation. Such a Monitoring Forum should have the mandate to play an important role for the future development of voluntary instruments designed to help improve working conditions and protect workers' rights. This effort should be closely linked with the ongoing multi-stakeholder process on reviewing voluntary initiatives which came out of CSD-6; approaches developed there should be applied to Codes of Conduct in the food sector.

Linkages with the World Food Summit and other UN processes

Support the full implementation of the Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Food Summit, 1996, adopted by 186 heads of state/government.
Governments, UN Agencies and other stakeholders should constantly be aware of the commitments made at the World Food Summit - throughout the processes of the FAO Regional Conferences, the Beijing + 5 review (June 2000), the WSSD+5 review (June 2000), the FAO Committee on World Food Security (September 2000), Rio +10 (Earth Summit 2002) etc, and the WFS High-Level Mid-term Review in 2006.
Support and strengthen of the FAO/WFS Review process within the FAO Committee on World Food Security, and the U.N. General Assembly, as well at the speedy establishment of multi-stakeholder 'Food for All' national campaigns (provided for under WFS).
Ensure that the results of CSD-8 will be made fed into the preparations for the remaining FAO conferences. The FAO Committee on World Food Security (18-21 September, 2000 Rome) will review WFS follow-up reports and action proposals from all these regional conferences, on WFS Commitments 1,2,5,7 and decide on further action. Subsequent reviews will take place biannually, leading up to the mid-term review of 2006.

Agriculture & WTO

A review of the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) must include the experience of consumers, farmers, indigenous peoples, women, civil society groups, and research non-government organizations as well as multilateral organizations that have been critical of the existing rules governing agriculture.
Ensure food security based on self-sufficient, small-scale, diverse agriculture instead of corporate export-oriented, agro-industrial monocultures.
Ensure that southern and small farmers, particularly women, are not undermined by competitive pressures resulting from the rapid removal of tariff and non-tariff barriers and subsidized agricultural products from northern countries.
Adopt the Convention on Biodiversity. Ban the patenting of living organisms and protect the knowledge, practices and livelihoods of indigenous peoples.

 

1.2 Pesticides

More research on the impacts of pesticides on women must include more countries and different cropping systems.
Extension workers and major pesticide companies need to initiate activities including dissemination of protective equipment specifically focused on women and pesticide use.
More outreach to women in agricultural communities must occur to women's organizations so that the issues of pesticide exposure are part of ongoing educational efforts to a broader array of women. Utilize successful models of outreach and information dissemination such as plays, cartoons to broaden community understanding of pesticide implications.
More detailed studies need to look at patterns of contamination in relation to land use, pesticide use to help reduce the amounts of pesticides that reach women through varied routes of exposure such as streams and ground water. Local and regional management strategies need be developed to account for geographic patterns in land use, chemical use and natural factors.
Women's groups need to hold meetings with pesticide companies to demand better information and equipment for protection from pesticides.
Women's groups need additional resources including more information, training and financial backing. Project support for production of resource guides and films on pesticides should be enhanced and more support for increased activism on legislation banning harmful pesticides. These groups should do enhanced lobbying to push for governments to increase funds for research on links between health and pesticides use, and start door to door projects in some communities which call upon individuals and homes to commit to buying organic produce and not using insecticides in household use. They also need to initiate door to door campaigns to ensure total community involvement in these issues. Marketing aspects regarding organic food, which can be more expensive, need to be addressed. Taxation and import duties regulations should be considered to address these problems.
Agricultural companies need to increase emphasis on the role of women and participatory management of workers in decision making. Initiatives need to ensure that women are hired for every aspect of distribution, including loading produce, driving trucks, and management.
More development programs in many parts of the world need to include gender sensitive training on pesticide use.
Information programmes on alternative technologies need to be developed and implemented - ie on organic agriculture; low-external input sustainable agriculture; LEISA (minimum of agro-chemicals supplementing non-chemical methods of weed and pest control). These technologies, being based on traditional knowledge are more accessible to the majority of women farmers, require no or very little credit, protective clothing, and literacy.

 

1.3 Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) & Women's Health

Women call upon Governments:

to make concerted efforts to phase out the production as well as the use of POPs. An elimination of the POPs at the source should be implemented immediately. This elimination should first focus on the twelve priority POPs, including DDT, PCBs and dioxins for which a convention is in the process of being negotiated.
To make concerted efforts to develop criteria and procedures based on environment health protection to identify new POPs for elimination.
to apply the precautionary principle: no chemical should be allowed on the market before sufficient scientific proof exists that the chemical is not dangerous to human health, not only in short-term but also in long-term use.
to promote more research to identify POPs in human tissues and to analyse the links between human health and POPs in environment.
to promote research to clean the body of POPs, so that the offspring is no longer intoxicated by POPs in the prenatal phase and by breast feeding.
to recognise that breast milk- being according to numerous research the best nutrition for the optimal development of every child - has to be free from POPs.
to provide the systematic control on food production and consumption to identify the harmful chemicals and fully protect the consumers.
to develop labelling schemes for products and goods containing POPs, so that consumers can take informed decisions.
to replace chlorinating of water by safer and effective methods (for example, ozone , ultraviolet light)
to enable a POPs-free approach in the control of malaria and other transmissive diseases.
to prohibit the use of POPs in public health care and veterinary treatment, e.g. the use of lindane as a treatment for lice and scabies in humans and against ectoparasites in sheep.
to develop and implement National and Local Environment and Health Action Plans (NEHAPs and LEHAPs) containing policies to protect human reproductive health and child development from POPs.
to provide governmental support for the monitoring and mapping of the environmental health situation - particularly the impact of chemical pollution - by women's organisations and other NGOs and local groups in co-operation with scientists and experts - the results should be taken into account in national policy-making. Ensure that research, education and outreach programs on POP's are designed to be sensitive to the concerns of women, women's groups and the issues of the impact of POP's on women.

 

2. Land

International and UN Processes

The issue of women's equal right to land and property needs to be addressed in the outcome of the CSD.
UN agencies need to link with NGO and CBO partners such as the Women's Super Coalition, the Huairou Commission, HIC / WAS, GROOTS and the ICW. Issues that affect grassroots women in countries that are transforming economically with globalization need to be brought to international attention. The effect on women of this economic transformation, including urbanization, is a neglected aspect of CSD.
The Secure Tenure Campaign of UNCHS (Habitat) is one such model of partnership. It proposes to work through the grassroots women's movements and international networks. The Secure Tenure Campaign can also work with the CSD process through the CSD NGO Women's Caucus.

UN Agencies, Governments, NGOs and other stakeholders

The activities of grassroots and community-based organizations (CBOs) aimed at improving women's land and property rights should be supported and promoted.
Governments and NGOs should collaborate in building support networks for grassroots women on equal land rights.
Both women and men should be involved in the grassroots campaigns on equal gender rights, to overcome historical inequities through a reflective social process.
Information activities on these rights should be organized and supported. These are needed at national level but also in cities, towns and villages where women do not experience the rights in practice.
Grassroots exchanges within and between regions on issues of women and secure tenure should be organized and supported financially.
Best practices of women's equal access to and control of land and property should be collected and disseminated.
Information on how equal access to arable land by women can decrease urban migration needs to be disseminated in the areas concerned to change policies of National and Local Governments.
The training of paralegal advisers on women's land rights should be supported and extended, based on current best practices.
National and regional workshops on women's equal access to and control of land and property should be supported as part of the Beijing +5 and Istanbul +5 processes.
Land reforms should be carried out to promote the access of disadvantaged groups to agricultural land.
Resettlement programmes need to be planned and carried out in a gender-sensitive manner and discrimination of (married) women needs to be eliminated. Often, they ensure greater access to land for agriculture but women cannot directly benefit from them when deeds are only registered in the name of their husbands. In cases where permits in resettlement areas are issued for the male householder, unmarried women, widows and divorcees can often be issued with permits leaving the married women with nothing to call theirs.
Other important stakeholders who have to be involved in the work on the issues of women's right and access to land are political parties, agricultural workers unions, teachers, extension workers, and local authorities.

 

3. Forests / Intellectual Property Rights and Women's Traditional Environmental Knowledge

Women are key participants in the forest sector. Their contributions vary at each level of activity, from massive involvement at the grass roots level to a much leaner presence at professional and technical levels.

It is not enough merely to mention women as participants and beneficiaries in project plans and project documents. Project strategies and work plans must be defined, human and financial needs identified, and indicators suggested so that goals can be achieved. Reaching women, and people in general, is always more complex than anticipated. Without plans, budgets and resources having been determined at the outset, efforts are unlikely to be efficient.
In the forest sector, gender issues must be examined in a broader context, considering many variables that influence the success of a project. Environmental policies, traditional social structure, land tenure, control over the means of production are a few of the crucial issues at stake.
Too often women's participation in forest activity is seen as being limited to the provision of labour. Under these conditions, increased participation may have a negative impact: increased workloads and exploitation.
Gender-differentiated baseline studies and social gender analysis of projects should be practical, participatory, and timely in order to be useful to planners, implementers, monitors and evaluators.
Not only should women's interests be represented; women themselves should voice their concerns and form part of decision-making bodies and processes. Setting targets for women's participation can be a useful way to ensure that women are not deprived of job and training opportunities. Equally important is the promotion and advocacy of access for women to scholarships in the forest disciplines and to the profession itself. NGOs tend to be more successful in social and women's programming than governments or companies. They have the ability to interact with the people. But people, women in particular, also need technical solutions to social and economic problems. These are more likely to be provided by private or public sector specialists.
CEAs, NGOs and host governments executing supported projects may not have the capability to analyze gender equity as part of their project management duties. Donors need to be specific about their requirements and encourage organizations to acquire the skills needed.
Regarding the implementation of gender components, more training of project staff is needed. Leadership must be provided by decision makers to ensure that specific gender ratios are achieved and targets are met for all training programs.

 

 

4. Finance / Trade / Investment / Economic Growth

4.1 Micro-Finance

Concerns about gender impact

Existing evidence of the impact on gender relations of micro-finance programmes is limited, and few studies investigate the impact of different programme strategies in any detail. Nevertheless, despite its patchy nature, the existing evidence points to the need to question all the assumptions of beneficial impact.

There is an urgent need to look at how the negative impacts of micro-finance will be further reinforced by some of the commonly agreed principles of financial sustainability best practice currently being imposed by donors, in particular:

high interest rates and service charges to cover costs of delivery;
rapid programme growth to benefit from economies of scale;
reducing staff and staff costs through narrow focus on micro-finance;
reducing complementary services;
use of 'voluntary' contributions of clients and groups to identify eligible borrowers, ensure repayment and decrease costs of service delivery;
failure to incorporate empowerment indicators in Management Information Systems (MIS).

Ways forward for gender policy

There is an urgent need for more explicit measures to address gender subordination both at the enterprise and household levels. Innovative strategies in some programmes, including some of those attempting to be more financially self-sustainable, do point to cost-effective ways of addressing empowerment issues. Elements of a gender policy would include:

conditions of micro-finance delivery to support empowerment, with particular sensitivity to women's empowerment;
cost-effective complementary services;
institutional mainstreaming of gender policy.

Very little attention has been given to empowerment questions or ways in which both empowerment and sustainability aims may be accommodated. There are a number of ways in which women's empowerment could be increased:

repayment schedules and interest rates to maximise impact on incomes;
registration of assets used as collateral or purchased with loans in women's names or in joint names;
incorporating clear strategies for women's graduation to larger loans;
'multiple choice' options based on participatory consultation including loans for new activities, health, education, housing etc;
range of savings facilities which include higher interest deposits with more restricted access
outreach and advertizing of loan availability to women and women's groups.

Financial sustainability requirements of cutting costs to a minimum has led many programmes to seriously cut complementary services. In the past some support services in some programmes, including business training and gender awareness, have been both expensive and had minimal impact. However this does not mean that complementary services are not needed or would not make a substantial contribution to both all aspects of empowerment and repayment rates if they were better designed. Possible ways forward include:

initiating and supporting collective mutual learning on economic issues (eg skills, marketing, business development), other service provision (eg literacy, childcare) and social/political empowerment (eg legal rights) by clients/members;
linking with and supporting other organizations working for change in gender relations;
cross-subsidy from charging better-off clients for some services and/or charging all clients for some services once they have reached a certain level of income.

It is necessary to mainstream gender and empowerment concerns throughout all the activities of a micro-finance programme. Mainstreaming gender is not necessarily resolved by women-only programmes, and these do not necessarily challenge gender inequality. Importantly, there are definite benefits to mixed-sex programmes where male staff are also working on gender issues with men and women are able to take their concerns before a male organization. Mainstreaming gender will however require a fundamental review at all levels:

review of norms and regulations from a gender perspective;
integrating gender equitable policies into services for men;
empowerment indicators as integral part of Management Information System;
fully integrating gender and empowerment issues into all client/member and staff training, conditions of staff recruitment and staff incentives.

Issues for Donors

Increasing impact will require changes in donor policy. Donors need to include empowerment concerns in all funding guidelines, monitoring and evaluation and programme support.

Micro-finance itself can only make a marginal contribution to women's empowerment and poverty alleviation without explicit support for women's grassroots movements explicitly addressing gender inequality and mainstreaming the concerns of poor women in all macro-level economic and social policy.

Traditional Credit Systems & Rural Banks

Traditional Credit Systems of rural women need to be recognized and accepted as one component of the financial system of fund distribution (savings and credit).
Governments should approve the establishment of rural women banks owned by the rural women farmers with their tradition of wealth creation methodology.

 

4.2 Trade / WTO

Systemic and Implementation Issues

Ensure that women's and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have equal access to information. Institute dialogue that allows substantial exchange between trade officials and NGOs.
We recommend a comprehensive gender assessment of the implementation of the Uruguay Round agreements before undertaking a new WTO round. Such a review should address the negative impacts and correct the deficiencies and imbalances in the agreements and build on areas where women have benefited from increased trade. This review and assessment should involve consultations with women's and other NGOs.
We recommend to carefully differentiate between free trade and fair trade. There is an urgent need for a comprehensive assessment of the social and environmental impacts of more free trade in the poorer countries as well as, to a lesser extent, in the richer countries.
Democratize the WTO dispute settlement system to ensure impartiality, equitable access and a final appeal process outside of the WTO. Introduce and implement mechanisms to reduce the costs of dispute settlement for developing countries.
Ensure gender and regional balance in all WTO decision-making bodies including expert and scientific panels and Governments should work for gender balance in all their WTO delegations.
We urge developed countries to uphold the principle of special and differential treatment for developing countries. Developed countries must fulfil their commitments in this area, especially for net food-importing countries and least-developed countries.
Governments should retain the right to advance local, national, social and economic goals, including programs designed to increase opportunities for women in business. Any extended Procurement Agreement should preserve the right of governments to set standards that protect women, communities, culture and the environment and extend set-asides for women and minorities. If military expenditures are exempted on the grounds of national security, this exemption should also be applied to the environment, the domestic economy and families.
Amend the WTO Sanitary and Phyto Sanitary Agreement and Codex Alimentarius to ensure that standards and testing reviews include a gender assessment component.
There should be agreement on standard nutrition and GMO labelling of all food products based on consumer rights and protection. These standards should be developed in a participatory process that includes local citizens, independent scientists and NGO's.
The WTO and its surrogates are not the appropriate body for setting health, environment and consumer standards. Trade rules should not be used to challenge laws that are designed to promote and protect health and the environment. We support the development of a consumer protection body that is separate and apart from the WTO.
Governments should ensure that the protection of indigenous wisdom, traditional innovation, knowledge and practices is consistent with the Convention on Biological Diversity.
Governments should amend the WTO Trips agreement to prevent plant and life forms from being appropriated and commercialized by TNC's at the expense of indigenous community and global biodiversity.

General Agreement on Trade and Services (GATS)

Ensure that public services such as health, education, social welfare, water, energy, among others are affordable and accessible.
Promote symmetry in the treatment of the international mobility of capital and labor. Liberal entry of multinational service corporations must be matched by market opening measures for labor in developed countries.
Provide women with capital, skills, training and technology that would allow them to take advantage of opportunities that increased trade in services provides.
Ensure that trade policy does not overturn domestic regulations on consumer protection, public safety, public health and education, food safety and environmental protection, among others.

 

4.3 Structural Adjustment Programmes

Problems

Economic policy and development issues, particularly Structural Adjustment Programmes (SAPs) have dominated women's concerns in many Developing Countries, particularly in Africa, because they have been implicated in the rise of poverty, especially of women. SAPs have been cited as one of the factors responsible for the non-realisation of most of the provisions of the Nairobi Forward Looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women (1985). Without a fundamental rethinking of SAPs, many economies have no chance of reversing their present circumstances.

While gender inequality predates SAPs, the effects of SAPs and the policy climate they create are inimical to the promotion of social programmes and measures to address this issue. The problems of gender relations, for example in Africa, have been exacerbated by SAPs in a number of important ways. Women are in the majority of those suffering the adverse social conditions blamed on SAPs.

In the area of work, for example, there is evidence from studies of the impacts of SAPs, that more women than men have become unemployed, wage differentials between men and women are growing, working conditions of women are deteriorating, a situation exacerbated by the fact that more women are swelling the ranks of informal sector workers. In addition, there are gender inequalities in obligations and reciprocities regarding labour. Women's unpaid work has increased because of the removal of subsidies on social services. Other indicators include adverse effects on the health and education of girls, changes in household structures which increase dependency ratios and increases in domestic violence against women and stress. UN studies have found that since 1980 there has been a slowdown in the rate of improvement in the ratio of female to male enrolment.

It has been shown that SAPs themselves are gender biased in various ways – the macro-economic policies, though appearing to be neutral, work out differently for different social groups based on class and gender relations. SAPs assume the unlimited availability of women's unpaid labour and time and the efficiency approach of SAPs have tended to see women as a resource to be tapped to promote the efficiency of free market policies and to deal with the short-fall in access to social services.

Recommendations

The international community, Governments and other stakeholders, particularly women’s organisations, need to search for alternatives for SAPs. Long-term development concerns should be seen as paramount and economic policy should not be prioritised and divorced from social policy and democracy.
Democratic participation in reviewing and making of economic policies is crucial. Governments should be urged to promote dialogue between themselves and their societies to ensure the indigenisation of socio-economic policy making and secure the broad acceptance of policy goals in the interest of stability, peace and development. Specific issues are the question of developing methodologies which enable a more inclusive assessment of SAPs and their effects, particularly to factor in informal sector activity and unpaid labour into national accounting and develop more accurate criteria for measuring socio-economic progress.
Even more fundamentally, the nature of the informal sector and intra-household relations need to be understood properly to aid the promotion of institutional reforms and policies, to ensure that they are not exploitative to women and other disadvantaged groups. Indigenous gender research is extremely important in this regard. Research on SAPs should adopt gender analysis rather than women as a framework in order to aid the discovery of similarities and differences of the experiences of women and men under SAP.
Gender analysis needs to tackle macro-economic issues and areas of economic policy previously considered gender neutral such as trade, resource management and monetary and fiscal policies.
One comprehensive attempt at formulating an alternative to SAPs was made in 1989 the by the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) formulating the African Alternative Framework to Structural Adjustment Programmes for Economic Recovery and Transformation (AAF-SAP). The AAF-SAP stresses that the basis of economic policy should be the development of people. It states clearly that productive capacity should not be constrained for the sole purpose of achieving financial balances and neither should budget deficits be reduced at the expense of expenditure on health, education and other social sectors. Other specific recommendations include the need to strengthen the linkages between agriculture and industry, the need to correct the bias against food crops, the use of foreign exchange to import inputs for both agriculture and industry, the allocation of about 25% of public investment to agriculture and most importantly land reform to improve gender and class equity.

 

 

5. Freshwater

Good water management and efforts to improve water have to take into account the special roles, responsibilities and burdens of women.

Developing and implementing good water management needs to be a conserted effort of the relevant stakeholders. Women, as the major carriers of local and traditional knowledge about supplying water and monitoring its quality, are among the most relevant stakeholders to address this task.
Good water management cannot be done from central government, it has to be designed according to local conditions. This can be achieved as an integral part of multi-stakeholder Local Agenda 21 processes. Wherever appropriate, these participatory processes can be joint efforts of several communities covering the a common watershed area.
Create "listening centres" to engage the public in discussions about water: access, price, quantity and quality.
Introducing new technology and management systems can be part of the efforts to alleviate the workload of women k supplying water. However, it is crucial that this does not lead to further diminishing the status of women in the family and the community as they lose the responsibility connected with the task of supplying water. To avoid unwanted social consequences, the approach to problem-solving has to be participatory and community based.
Knowledgeable local women should be fully participating in developing and implementing education s programmes and information services on water management. Equal access for women and girls to education and training programs has to be ensured.
Support the 70+ remaining governments that do not have statistical information on the percentage of their population with access to safe water.
Incorporate the systematic use of gender disaggregated data collection and gender analysis into all research, problem diagnosis and formulation of solutions and actions. Effective information a monitoring networks needs to include gender disaggregated data. Women need to be involved in the collection, analysis and interpretation of gender disaggregated data.
Invest in better data collection on public health, including more long-term epidemiological studies and more dissemination of clear and useful o information about the environmental links to health problems.
Use a gender and age-sensitive approach to train local health officials about specific substances to which the local has been or is likely to be exposed through their freshwater supplies.
Economic instruments for guiding the allocation of water should take into account the needs of vulnerable groups, in particular women and their special role in relation for water in many societies.
Create more effective means of corporate accountability, including strategies to enforce codes of conduct at national and international levels, primarily looking at various industrial sectors releasing dangerous pollutants into the environment which contaminate freshwater.
Ensure that women are adequately represented in all institutional mechanisms including water boards and committees and work for gender balance in staffing of all agencies supplying water services.
Ensure that women are involved in economic opportunities such as construction contracts for water services.

 

 

6. Tourism

Ad Hoc Information Multi-Stakeholder Working Group on Sustainable Tourism

The working group will have it’s first meeting in January, convened by the World Tourism Organization in San Jose, Costa Rica.

The Women’s Caucus urges the working group to gender-mainstream all its activities of analysis, strategizing, development of policy recommendations and multi-stakeholder collaborative efforts.

With regard to some of the issues which have been identified in the CSD-7 decision as possible priorities for the work of the Working Group, considerable research and data gaps need to be addressed to enable gender-mainstreaming. Making gender disaggregated information available will be crucial: precise data on women's and men's employment in the tourism industry their occupations, positioning in the hierarchies, contracts, wages, working hours, training, etc. Few countries provide information about these variables (ILO 1998); in some cases, they are available through the tourism industry.

Linkages and leakages

Linkages between the tourist industry and other sectors of the economy and the creation of indirect employment is another under-researched area. This would allow for more targeted approaches to creating income-earning opportunities to those who are not directly involved in tourism through backward and forward linkages. Maximising benefits for local communities must address the problem of financial leakages. There is a need to assess leakages and to promote good practice strategies to minimise them.

Participation at the local level

Tourism, especially international tourism that involves high capital investments, has tended to be controlled by powerful vested interests and has been characterized by a lack of concern for the local communities residing in the destination areas. In many areas the local communities or sections of local communities have taken the initiative to maximise gains for themselves. In most cases this has been a spontaneous development. However, there have been attempts to introduce systematic processes or strategies to enhance participation by all sections of the host communities, with several of these having a gender focus. There have also been attempts to build up partnerships, partnerships between the formal tourist industry and local communities and partnerships between concerned government departments, NGOs and local communities. It is just a beginning. The experience gained, however, can provide the building blocks for scaling up and evolving effective strategies at various levels, local, national, regional and international.

Income generation is the important motive for participation by women in the tourism industry. In most destination areas in the South, the gains for the local community seem to come from the informal sector or the formal sector owned or organised by the communities (women's co-operatives etc.).

The community must be involved in all stages of tourism development - be it the engagement of tourism industry coming in from outside, community based tourism initiatives, or a combination of those.

Capacity building for participation is needed in many cases. It is important to acknowledge that different groups have different requirements in terms of capacity building and empowerment; in particular women and men.

Strategies of building partnerships: Promotion of community participation in the tourism industry forms an important part of the slowly evolving trend of building partnerships. Several cases help in understanding the role of conservation departments as stakeholders in participatory tourism development.

Tourism boards and government departments dealing with tourism do not seem to be playing a very active role in promoting the participation of local communities as stakeholders or in facilitating partnerships between the local communities and the tourist industry. Some cases show how NGOs can play the role of social entrepreneurs in the industry.

Tourism development should be an integrated component of Local Agenda 21 (LA21). LA21 processes require measures to ensure meaningful participation of all, develop a shared vision and involve all stakeholders in decision-making. LA 21 processes allow taking into account the heterogeneous nature of local communities, which are made up of different groups with diverse interests, needs, capacities, and concerns (women and men, young and old, different ethnic groups and indigenous peoples). As LA21 is an ongoing process, it also involves stakeholders in monitoring and evaluation as plans are put into practice that can ensure continuous commitment by all stakeholder groups.

 

 

References:

CSD NGO Women's Caucus Background and Position Papers, as of 23 January 2000:

Bne Saad, Majda, 1999. Food Security for the Food-Insecure: new challenges and renewed commitments. Centre for Development Studies, University College Dublin, Ireland

Hemmati, Minu, 1999. Women & Freshwater. UNED-UK, London, UK

Lebner, Ashley (Cambridge University) & Gregoire, Helene (Cornell University), 1999. Re-evaluating Relevance: Intellectual Property Rights and Women's Traditional Environmental Knowledge. Cambridge University, UK & Cornell University, New York, USA

Lee-Smith, Diana (UNCHS Gender Unit); Trujillo, Catalina (UNCHS Women & Habitat Programme); in consultation with the Huairou Commission, 1999. Women and Land. UNCHS, Nairobi, Kenya & Huairou Commission, New York, USA

Mayoux, Linda, 1999. Micro-Finance and Empowerment (pdf). Open University, UK

Mungwashu, Rudo S.P., 1999. Sustainable Agriculture and Land. United Nations Association Zimbabwe / Women's' Operation Green 1996 - 2000.

Ransom, Pamela, 1999. Women, Pesticides and Sustainable Agriculture. Women's Environment and Development Organisation (WEDO), New York, USA

Dzodzi Tsikata, 1995. Effects of structural adjustment on women and the poor. Third World Network, Africa Secretariat, Accra, Ghana

Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF), 1999. Persistant Organic Pollutants & Reproductive Health. Background Document for the International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN) Workshop "Women, POPs and Reproductive Health". WECF, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Women's Caucus at the Third Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization, 1999. Women’s Caucus Declaration. Seattle, Washington, USA

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